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Thursday, 27 February 2014

DIY Washing Powder and Fabric Softner

Anyone that knows me, knows i HATE to pay for packaging and HATE to pay over the odds for something. Give me a recipe and ill hunt down a much cheaper alternative. The majority of us wash our clothes, there is plenty of variety meaning you can choose how you wash your clothes. I usually use liquid or capsules as i do not like to use my wash draw - i detest cleaning congealed powder much more than i do cleaning the oven! But for the purpose of trying this out i placed powder in the drum not the drawer.

You can make your own washing powder using 3 easy to buy and cheap ingredients.

  • Soap (Dove soap isn't recommended as it contains oils which can clog your machine)
  • Soda Crystals
  • Oxyclean or if you can find it Borax 
Store in an airtight tub/jar and use 2 teaspoons per load. All ingredients can be brought from Poundshop except the Borax, the only place i have seen that is Boyes. I made a 4-6 month batch using 2 bars of soap, 1kg bag of soda crystals and a tub of oxyclean. It makes more of a 6 month batch but my youngest is messy and the hubbs goes fishing so i tend to stick a bit more in washes with their clothes. It makes around 100 washes depending on how much you use. 

Why would i want to make my own?

The fantastic thing about homemade washing powder and fabric softener is you can vary the scents just like buying different ones in the shops. Just use different soap or conditioner. All the ingredients are items you are likely to have in your home anyways or that you can use. 
  • Soap - you will use this at some point
  • Oxyclean/Borax - I usually add this to my white washes anyways
  • Soda Crystals - Softens the water but can be used as a drain unblocker, degreasing, polishing cutlery.. the list is endless.
  • Hair conditioner - Most households have this
  • White vinegar - used in most natural cleaning products as its not as stinky as brown vinegar
  • Water - we all have water. 
Homemade Washing Powder


Step one - Grate the soap finely. 

Please excuse the nasty bowl. I used an old bowl and grater for the purpose of making this. 

Step 2 - Add the oxyclean (or borax) and soda crystals

I grated some big chunks here as i got bored. I would usually grate them finely like in step 1. 

Step 3 - Place in an airtight tub/jar. 

I have a mass of tubs and jars because i always find a use for them. I tend to use the oxy clean tubs and use the measuring spoon that comes with them.

Home made Fabric Softener

My camera decided to die on me so i was unable to grab some pictures. Ill be making some next week so will add them in.


  • Water
  • White vinegar
  • Hair conditioner

This makes around 4 litres so just adjust as you need. I use a 2 thoroughly washed out 4 pint milk bottles to store this, if you have young kids that may spot the milk bottle and think yummy it is advised to find a different container. I use around 1/2 a capful per wash but you could use more. 4 pints last me around 4- 6 months. 

Just 1 easy step - Add  6 cups water,  2 cups hair conditioner and 3 cups white vinegar into a large enough bowl and stir gently - If adding to bottles do not shake as it will foam up. 

Handy tips: 

Skip the hair conditioner altogether and use white vinegar and essential oils. 

Heat up the vinegar and conditioner a little bit before adding the water. Personally i didn't notice the difference but you may like to try it. 

How cost effective is making your own?

I usually buy Persil. Its a brand i trust and have used since i moved into my flat at 17. If its not on offer i usually buy own brand stuff. On average Persil liquid is between £6 and £10 for a 40 wash bottle. A 35 wash Persil capsule pack is around the same price and a 50 wash family box of Persil powder is between £8 and £12 depending on offers and where you buy it. I will make any one of these last me the month. On top of this i buy fabric softener at £1 a bottle or £2 for concentrated and need around 3/4 bottles a month. Total cost for the month = £16 if not on offer and £12 if on offer.

Making my own costs me £1 for a tub of oxyclean, £1 for a bag of soda crystals and £1 for a 4-6 pack of soap (Borax may cost abit more but i havent been able to buy it to know for definate), Water = Free (i do still pay the water bill :D), Hair conditioner, varies but i pay £1, White vinegar cost varies but i pay £1 in tescos ( a local chippy will sell you a bottle if your struggling to find it). Total cost for the 4-6 months = £3! It works out around 3p per wash.

All in all it works out well for me cost wise. Personally its testing it out as its personal preference how you want your clothes to smell. More soap/hair conditioner may be needed. I find it brings my clothes out nicely, my whites are whiter and the smell is about what i would get if using shop brought stuff. Worth a test run if you've got the bits already in your cupboards in my opinion though :D

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